Q. Why Does the Middle School Need Renovation?
A. The last major renovation of the middle school was in 1955. The boilers, ventilation and electrical system date from then and are outdated, no longer serviceable or in need of constant repair. The ventilation system is inoperable and CO2 levels are high. There is no sprinkler system for fire safety. There is poor security and very limited handicapped accessibility.
Q. What will we get for the cost?
A. New energy recovery ventilation system, a new fire suppression sprinkler system, renovated or refurbished classrooms, state of the art science, technology and consumer labs, brighter interiors, improved traffic pattern and space utilization, universal access throughout building, bathrooms on each floor, secure and accessible ground floor entrance, improved community access with large group instruction space.
Q. What about green space?
A. The renovation plan eliminates the exterior front stairways, ailing trees and thorny bushes to make way for a new lawn area. The existing flower and vegetable gardens will remain. The current practice of walking to the recreation center, Hetty Green Park, Wells Street playground and other accessible areas within our village, will continue along with transporting students to our athletic fields through the after school sports programs.
Q. What about the traffic on School Street?
A. The Rockingham School Board will be addressing these concerns with the local government and public safety departments. Discussions on street traffic flow, traffic calming techniques, signage, etc, are anticipated. The renovation plan includes a new accessible egress from the cafeteria that could be incorporated into a new drop off/pick up procedure.
Q. Will there be any secure storage or lockers for the students?
A. The existing building does not have adequate storage space for student belongings. The project costs include an allotment for student storage so that students will no longer have to carry their belongings with them throughout the day. At this time, the project design includes hallway lockers for storing student belongings.
Q. I understand existing CO2 levels are high, what does this mean?
A. Indoor CO2 levels come from building occupants (we all exhale carbon dioxide). Due to the fact that the BFMS ventilation system is old and mostly inoperable, CO2 levels have exceeded the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards. Elevated CO2 concentrations can cause drowsiness, lethargy, and a general sense of stale air.
Q. Given the outdated systems, are my children safe?
A. Yes. The Fire Marshall inspects the premises annually and works with the school on a continual basis to keep students and staff safe. The renovation will bring the building into compliance with current codes.
Q. Will there be increased operating costs or other costs not listed?
A. The new building systems will be computer monitored and controlled and we anticipate having an annual contract to test and maintain the system as we do with SRES and CES. The ventilation load will increase (no ventilation now) and the modern classrooms will require more electricity (computers, smart boards, etc). However, savings through energy efficient lighting and controls, energy recovery ventilators, wood pellet heating system and solar hot water andor PV are expected. In addition, the $19,000 per year in electrical and mechanical maintenance will be eliminated.